Braids Hill Race – 12/11/16

The 12th of November saw a small and intrepid group of GUHH’s partake in EUHH’s annual Hill race and social, Braids. Numbers this year from the Craic & Gold where low but that didn’t stop a 7-strong team from venturing into the depths of Edinburgh’s stronghold for patter (a word I use very loosely) either just to run the race or to make a day out of it and experience the social as well.

After the troops assembled in Edinburgh, we made our way to Kings Building House, stopping on the way for some munchies for the race. After collecting our numbers and purchasing tickets for the social, the team showed excellent prior planning by acquiring the closest table to the cake stand. After a suitable amount of pre-race craic to warm up our muscles, we geared up only to find we had forgotten face paint! At which point Iain speed of too acquire some, with Leeds and Dundee helping the face paint malnourished GUHH to tart up (cheers University of Leeds and University of Dundee Running clubs).

The 5km race saw five competitors line up in black and gold, well three of them did due to the lack of vests. Despite there being over 200 runners at the start of the race the amount of cheering was shameful so the duo of Brian and Iain saw it fit to ensure our runners were properly motivated. The 5km race saw some strong performances from the team with Alice Everett finishing in 22:01 as the 33rd woman across the line, antibiotic Andrew Wallace fresh from illness came in next running a 23:07 placing him 134th overall and first in the beanie hat race! Hot on Andrews heals came Ultra Audrey finishing in 23:17 to claim 143rd. Juliet Hill bounded over the hill to finish 170th in 24:55 followed by Miriam Kirchberger 26:45 who claimed 208th. Overall the guys did great over the busy and hilly course!

After getting in trouble from a team who shall remain nameless (E*******h) for being the only ones chanting at the start of the 10km Forest “Brian Ward” Gump and Iain Ballantyne (wearing a woman’s Vest) set off for a double dose of fun. After some encouragement from the rest of the gang on the way around Brian Ward flew across the line in 37:51 to take 50th, a bit behind and coughing his way around Iain Ballantyne crossed the line in 40:38 to claim 92nd.

Having consumed vast amounts of baked goods and tea after the race, we enjoyed a much-needed shower thanks to EUHH team captain Sophie Collins (THANK YOU) and made our way to the main event, the Drinking of course! Witnessing the numbers of Manchester university grow exponentially with the release of their sesh gremlins we enjoyed a fine selection of non-vegetarian haggis, much to the dismay of Juliet and Audrey, “did I mention she ran an ultra”. After some chance encounters and a wee jigg, we took it upon ourselves to bring the life back to the ceilidh with many others thanking us for showing them how to “let loose”.

Overall a great day was had by all! We will be back next year! Many thanks to EUHH and especially Sophie Collins for organising the race and allowing us to flood her bathroom!

Words by Iain Ballantyne

ROAD RACE CANCELLED

After a course inspection earlier this evening, we have decided to cancel the race tomorrow. The race will be postponed to a later date in the new year.

Whilst the majority of the course is safe to run on, the pathway between Dawsholm road and the Kelvin is blocked by a huge ice sheet. This ice is several centimeters deep, stretches the full width of the path and affects around 50m of the course. As there is no way around this section, and no alternate route, we have no choice but to cancel the race due to the obvious safety issues.

We will try to set a new date for the race as quickly as possible, and pre-entries to tomorrows race will be carried over to the new date. However if anyone requires a refund, we will be able to arrange this in due course.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Jedburgh 3 Peaks Ultra Marathon – 29/10/16

We might not have mentioned it, but a few of us did an ultra. On the 29th October, myself, Audrey and alumni member Jackie set about the 38 mile Jedburgh 3 Peaks Ultramarathon and to sum it all up… we smashed it! Here’s our stories of how the day unfolded.

Audrey

I signed up for Jedburgh on a whim after the Edinburgh half marathon, and then put off training until three months before the day of the run, so I arrived on the start line with very low expectations.
The 10 miles to the first checkpoint flew by, as we ran along a trail through woods, over a bridge that was as wobbly as promised, and through fields, all still while the sun was coming up. Reading the race briefing, I thought it was crazy that coca cola was provided at check points, but as I arrived at the first check point just before 10am, it turned out coke was exactly what I fancied! I also discovered that you can eat a cheese and marmite sandwich while running. The next 7 miles were along the banks of the River Tweed, which I have to say looked stunning with all the autumn trees along the banks. I almost didn’t notice the pain of running up and down stairs!

Around checkpoint 2, I found Jackie and was ready to start my climb up the three peaks when disaster struck! My second cheese sandwich fell out of my packet of hula hoops, where I’d be keeping it to eat as I jogged (walked) up the hills. Happily, another runner saw it fall and brought it back to me, proving yet again what lovely people ultra runners are! Reunited with my sandwich, I ate it as I climbed, then did a bit of jogging at the top of the first peak to pose for a photographer (my nan’s Christmas present sorted). After so much climbing, it was nice to be able to run back down, and it was great to chat to some other runners on the way down. The next checkpoint at Bowden featured a quick trip round a playground and down a slide, just to get a wee extra work out in.

I made it to the final checkpoint at mile 28 in just under 6 hours, having completed my first ever marathon along the way! From here, I just had to repeat the first 10 miles back to Jedburgh. This plan worked great for the next few miles, but at mile 34 I decided I’d very much had enough. I tried to walk for about 20 metres, realised this was actually more painful than my hobble/run, and went back to running. The stairs, stiles and climbs over road barriers proved substantially more of a challenge on the return. I was very appreciative of the series of runners who heckled/cheered/encouraged me on to run those last few miles. I jogged back into Jedburgh with two ultra veterans, who challenged me to a sprint finish. My competitive side got the better of me, and I “sprinted” over the finish line to finish in 8:07:44.
I was really grateful to Gage, Foggo and Sarah who cycled round the course to cheer us on, it made a huge difference! Also to everyone who lent me kit (Duncan, Sarah and Jenna) and to Mark and his family for hosting us and feeding us (not an easy task!) for the weekend! I’m not sure anyone believes me, but I really enjoyed every mile of it! I’d definitely recommend it, and I know if I can get a place in the ballot, I’ll be back to run it next year!

Mark

Although this was my 3rd time at Jedburgh and 4th ultra it doesn’t make the lead up to the race any easier. The week before is spent panicking about every niggle, sniffle, meal, drink, sleep … I felt somewhat un-prepared this year having only managed a long run of 15 miles in training. However, I was confident I could manage the distance and since I was hosting two ultra-newbies, Jackie and Audrey, for the weekend I tried (unsuccessfully) to hide my stress.

In my first two running’s at Jed I started of slow and steadily got faster, working my way through the field and finishing strong but last year was left wondering, “what if?”. So, this year I went for the well thought out plan of “flat out and hang on”.

A confused band of locals had stretched themselves across the path to send us off but they quickly startled and scattered as the starting hooter sounded and 300 runners charged their way. Within the first mile I formed a leading group of 4 ultra-runners and a relay runner. The 10 miles to the first checkpoint and Maxton were truly special in the rising sun and stunning autumnal leaves. Two runners stretched ahead and I settled into a good rhythm weaving along the 1st class single-track trailporn chatting to fellow Westie Stan. Before I knew it, I was in Maxton, 10 minutes ahead of last year, either smashing it or ******* it.

I pushed on towards the next CP up and down the steep slopes and steps along the banks of the glorious River Tweed and managed to stretch out a gap ahead of Stan (thanks to a small navigational error on his part). After turning away from the Tweed the course drags steadily uphill towards the base of the Eildon’s and it was a great lift to get cheered on by Sarah, Gage and Foggo as we crossed the main road. Checkpoint 2 was in chaos and I made the foolish decision to abandon my drop-bag, something I regretted deeply later in the race. I was a silly 24 minutes ahead of last year but was still feeling strong so pressed on in pursuit of the leading pair.

I love the Eildon’s; steep, muddy, rocky, heathery and with views to rival anywhere in Scotland! There’s nothing like these 3 hills to wake up the legs and refresh the mind and have some fun bouncing around the heather. I saw the leading pair for the first time since mile 3 from the top of the 1st hill and could see the gap was closing. By the time we came of the last hill and hit the mandatory playpark I was hot on the heels of second place. I resisted the temptation of the climbing wall and went for the easier ladder option, stumbled across the rope bridge and my chaffed arse discovered my short shorts were in fact too short for the slide. I grabbed some water and Jelly Babies at the checkpoint and put the hammer down, moving into second place. I took the lead as we returned to the weaving path next to the Tweed. 3 miles from the last CP I started to notice I was in trouble, my food and water was almost finished and the warning shots of dehydration and hypo were firing. I decided to finish my fuel and go flat out to get to Maxton ASAP, smashing it or ******* it?

Trying to look fresh I bounded into Maxton and set about raiding my drop bag, took on some water and sprinted away up the hill. Sarah and my Mum got there just in time for me to confess to feeling ruined, however their shocked expression and words of encouragement did wonders to keeping me going over the last 10 miles. A mile out from the CP I was hitting real trouble and by 2 miles I was Jonny Brownleeing all over the trail. Without a brother to keep me upright I sought the comfort of some cold moist grass and took a lie down. After a few minutes the forest stopped spinning and my legs returned from puppet land, so I got to my feet and started a brisk walk. I have never felt like this before; the tank was empty, the legs were gone, every part of my body was screaming at me to stop, call my mum and go home for a nice hot bath… a bath bubbling with shame and disappointment.

I had a stern talking to myself and might have cried if I wasn’t so dehydrated; I wasn’t going to throw it away now! I started shuffling, that shuffle slowly turned into jog which almost reached a run. Every step hurt, but every step brought me closer to the finish. Eventually I hit the town, a brutal 1.5 miles of tarmac lay between me and the finish. I counted trees as I passed them, then lampposts, then paving slabs and hummed the Hercules soundtrack to myself to drown out the pain. Suddenly a runner pulled level with me…. balls…. Wait he’s doing the relay! Relax, breath, just keep on keeping on, the finish line comes into sight. Got to look good crossing the line; I force myself to run like a normal human, although there’s nothing forced about the smile. Smashed it… just.

I’ve never won anything before and wasn’t sure how to react, luckily this became irrelevant as I quickly lost the ability to remain upright and took again to the comfort of the moist grass. I was annoyed at myself for almost throwing it away through sheer stupidity; I have gained some valuable experience and got mighty lucky, it’s not until looking back on it I realise how much trouble I was in. I loved every step and can honestly say that I enjoyed the suffering in some strange way!

“Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment. And sometimes that bad judgement can be pretty horrific!”, Val Geissler.

It’s clichéd, but, every ultra is a rollercoaster of highs and lows and teaches you a lot about yourself and your abilities. It’s inspiring to see runners of all shapes, sizes and ability conquering the distance all with a broad smile. The atmosphere and camaraderie amongst competitors is unique and special. Big thanks to Sarah, Gage, Foggo, my parents and my fellow Limpers for their support on the day. Huge congrats to Audrey and Jackie for their ridiculous performances on their first ultra.

Jackie

The weather fully did its bit in making this the picture-perfect autumn trail-porn race that I had psyched myself up for doing despite being undertrained and injured. Running through rustling leaves, nestled in a pack of clearly experienced ultra-runners, chatting and enjoying the rising sun and sun’s-out-guns-out weather made the first 17 miles the absolute best-case scenario for a first ultra. Feeling tired but good Audrey and I started the ascent of the first peak. And that’s when it got tough for me and doing the stair master seems like it would have been more appropriate training than running at this point. Having to go even slower on the downhill than up due to injury was slightly frustrating, but it was all okay when I got to the top and saw the stunning views; getting a last glimpse at the top of the third peak, bang on 19 miles (the half way point…) felt super special to me at this delirious stage. Then my Garmin battery died. The really painful walk-jog-limp journey home was only really possible due to the distraction of the brilliant playground interlude and the umpteen cheers, hugs, and encouragements from Foggo and Gage, who cycled to meet us throughout the course (heroes!). I was worried about the drawn-out finishing stretch along the road into Jedburgh, but getting dozens of honks, waves, and smiles of encouragement, even looks of respect from runners on their way home who had clearly finished hours and hours before me was amazing.

Audrey, Mark and Jackie

Audrey, Mark and Jackie

Scottish National XC Relays – 22/10/16

On Saturday the 22nd of October a contingent of runners made their way to the scenic Cumbernauld for the Scottish National XC Relays. Conditions were ideal and the 4km course was suitably challenging and there was an Olympian or two – the makings of a good race. There was a full men’s team, two full women’s teams and incomplete men’s and women’s teams gracing the course.

It is common manners to let the ladies first so it was down to the girls to “soften” the course for the men (i.e. make it nice and muddy for them- they wouldn’t want it too easy). The first women’s team came home in 1:02 claiming a respectable 11th place overall- first leg runner Annabel Simpson being the 6th fastest woman on the day! Taking over from the ladies the men’s team – Alastair Thurlbeck, Rory McMillan, Gregor Gillespie and Gavyn Chalmers finished in a combined time of 53 minutes putting them in 22nd place overall- not shabby at all gents.

Well done to everyone who ran. Sorry I can’t mention you all but you all put in a craic-ing effort! Hopefully the next race will be just as successful.

Words by Katrina Ballantyne

DAAA XC Relays – 15/10/16

On Sunday 16th October, GUHH headed to a somewhat soggy Helensburgh for the DAAA XC relays. Despite pelting rain Ellie Waugh, Brian Ward and Andrew Wallace started proceedings with 2 laps of what was essentially a short (3.6KM), sharp ascent of the hill, wheezy decent and ‘tricky burn crossing’ which turned out to be a small stream with an enormous tree branch lying right across the middle. Luckily no ankles were broken.
Brian put in an incredible run, coming 2nd in the first lap in a time of just 14.15, closely followed by Andrew for our mixed team (17.27) and Ellie for the women (18.07). Michael, Gavyn and Alex came next for Men’s A, all putting in fantastic laps in 15.03, 13.02 & 15.05 respectively and despite the initial concern that Alex might burn out half way round due to being ‘SO, SO PUMPED’ all was well and the Men secured 3rd Men’s Team overall. And despite his ridiculously long limbs and quick lap, annoyingly, Gav missed out on fastest lap by just 15 seconds. Rebecca ran second for the women, putting in a strong performance in just 17.25 and true to form El Capitan herself brought home a speedy final lap in 16.30 to win 2nd Women’s Team overall. Juliet and Maggie put in great runs for the Mixed team despite the awful weather in 20.14 and 19.17 respectively and GUHH acquired a new friend for the day in the form of Central runner Melissa Robinson who ran a strong final lap in 17.40 – cue much cheering and try and warm ourselves up.

Overall, a great day for the Hares and Hounds, winning medals for both men & women’s teams as well as the U20 prize for ‘Fastest Women’ going to Katrina.
Lessons learnt – running up hill, however small the hill is unpleasant, large branches should be avoided and down jackets, however warm they may be, do not withstand pouring rain, turning a once bubbly social secretary into a soggy sponge. Oh, and WE HAVE MORE FUN THAN YOU. Brilliant runs all round were rewarded by beer & burgers, proving that friends who run together, get fat together too.

Words by Ellie Waugh

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Stirling Freshers XC – 12/10/16

On the afternoon of 12th October, 16 of our keenest Hares & Hounds headed to Stirling for the annual Fresher’s Cross Country and first official race of the season.

For anyone old enough to remember BUCS 2014 (i.e. only Ellie and Alastair) this is a course that insights flashbacks of mud baths, pain and tears. To anyone else is it a fairly straightforward, undulating 2.8km loop with nice views of Dumyat hill & the Wallace Monument – or at least that’s what they all thought when we walked the course.

Our boys kicked off proceedings with Martin Lynas absolutely smashing his lap to make 10th place in just as many minutes (in 10.01 to be precise) maintaining his lead on his chaser from Strathy who came in just 1 second later. Next came Guinness Gillespie in a strong 10.09 for 13th place and our very own Forrest Gump, Brian Ward bouncing across the line in 10.18 and 16th place.

As the girls watched in horror at the speed the men were completing their laps in came Euan Rose in 10.46 (21st) Nicolas Daval in 11.01 (25th), Callum Smith in 11.11 (28th) Ruaridh Campbell in 11.24 (33rd) Christopher Stevens in 11.33 (38th), Callum Ferguson 11.43 (41st) and Rhys Walker in 12.12 (45th).

This was the debut for all the guys running for the Hares & Hounds and all put in strong performances to put GUHH in 4th place over – just 6 points short of placing However, most importantly, the men did us proud, beating the Haries by a whopping 58 points.

Typically as the girls lined up the rain which had been threatening all day decided now was the time. Heather Addison put in an incredible run in 11.55 to come 4th overall and despite the fact that those sneaky Haries tried to claim her for themselves by recording her run for EUHH we can confirm that she knew the only way was craic & gold.

El Capitan herself, Katrina Ballantyne came in 8th in 12.09 swiftly followed by Izzy Rayner for her debut GUHH run in 12.42.  Audrey Ayres’ ultra-training came in handy as she made it in in just under 13 minutes with 12.54 to secure 16th place, followed by a wheezing Ellie Waugh in 13.31 (21st) and Maggie Harger in 13.59 (25th)

The girls ran well, securing 3rd women’s team overall, despite some confusion other who was running for who.

With Scotland’s very own Olympian Andrew Butchart giving out the prizes – much to the excitement of some of our ladies and one man from Stirling who asked for an autograph rather than a prize – a massive thank you is due to Stirling for hosting another fantastic fresher’s run. Also big well done for everyone who represented the club and took part, you did good!

Words by Ellie Waugh

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Round the Houses 10k – 10/04/16

On the morning of Sunday the 10th April, 18 of our most enthusiastic Hares & Hounds set off to Grangemouth for the annual Jim Dingwall Memorial, Round the Houses 10k.

The course itself remained unchanged from previous years, a flat course circuiting the Grangemouth industrial estate and (as the name suggests) around the local houses, the ideal conditions for a PB.

Upon arrival everyone was in good sprits, with good weather and a welcome lack of hills after a heavy weekend in the Isle of Man, setting us up for an enjoyable race.

On great form as usual, Alastair Thurlbeck put in a stunning performance to secure 10th place overall in a time of 32.46. A new PB for our incoming Captain. Gavyn Chalmers, Grant Boyne and  Mark Sutherland followed closely in 24th, 25th and 28th places respectively, all coming in under 34 minutes to complete the Glasgow University Men’s A Team.

Fanni Gyurko stormed the course in 34.46, taking 3rd place for the women overall, not far behind came Annabel Simpson in Black and Gold in just 35.44 for U20 women and Sarah Laverty (running under her own name this time after the glory of being Iona Gatenby) in 36.26.

Just 8 seconds later our resident Dr, Adam Stark crossed the line and Callam Scott followed suit, coming in with a new PB at 37.41.

Canada’s finest, Zander Affleck was next over the line with Murdo Traill, Ross Martin, Duncan Ng and Maxim Yan Muk all bringing in strong finishes for the boys.

For the women, outgoing Captain, Lisa Christy was just behind Zander, finishing in 40.28 and a Soop fuelled Katrina Ballantyne kept on Team Boy Murdo’s tail to finish in an impressive 42.32. Hannah Miller put in a strong performance after an impromptu sign up, followed by Ellie Waugh, Lucy Deeny and Juliet Hill, completing the Hares & Hounds finishes.

Despite the ever looming presence of the Haries (again, we couldn’t hear them sing!) Glasgow put in a stellar performance, with Alastair taking 1st U20 male and Sarah and Annabel taking prizes for U20 women.

Not only this but Glasgow won 1st prize for both Men and Women’s University teams, demonstrating to Edinburgh that although we might be loud & obnoxious, we’re not always at the back.

Once again, a massive well done to everyone who raced, we did Glasgow proud!

Words By Ellie Waugh

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DAAA 5k Track Champs – 22/03/16

Hares and Hounds dominated the 5k track race, our favourite race of the year.  With so much excitement for the race and not so much as a murmur of complaint the guys got ready to start the most scenic 5k known to man.  Gavyn took banter start to the extreme maintaining it for a whole 5k cruising across the line and making it look like a walk in the park.  Grant beasted his last race as captain claiming second place with Mark Sutherland Adam Stark not far behind, all finishing in phenomenal times.  Will showed that it’s not the running but the turning up which counts as he won the U20 prize, something we’re sure he celebrated later that night by getting ‘loose and liberal’.

After realising that this wasn’t a baking party the girls made their way to the start line.  Marie-Louise Bonzon and Emma Ball were particularly nervous for their first race but both smashed the 5k showing how much their training this year has paid off- we promise that other races are much more fun!  The cookie monster herself Lisa showed the rest of us that she’s dought-not hanging around when it comes to running round in circles to be the 1st Glasgow woman back with a new PB.  Katrina followed Gavyn’s example and banter started the race completing the first 1k in a crazy fast time and being the second Glasgow woman to finish the 5k! Mairi Gilmour put us all to shame as she ran a stormer of a race despite having completed 2 hill races at the weekend….Mairi we salute you!  Lauren Gane and Ellie Waugh, our fave bakers, crossed the line within seconds of each other after being released from the clutches of the beer bar and its apple juice.

Special mention to Mr Instagram Neil for the pictures and flapjacks and Alastair Thurlbeck whose time keeping skills were on fleek – if running fails you can always become a timekeeper.

Words by Lisa Christy and Katrina Ballantyne

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Clydebank 5k – 19/03/16

On Saturday the 19th of March an army of craic and bold took to the stage in the ‘scenic’ Clydebank for a 5k.

The mythical hammer-wielding Alastair Thor’ Thurlbeck thundered home in a god-like time of 15.38 and 16th overall.  Shortly followed by Gavyn in a PB of 15:41 (he was clearly eager to dish out twos to the other runners) coming in in 17th.  Grant thoroughly enjoyed himself and came in in 15.57 and giving a cheeky thumb up en-route.  Adam, Will, Tom Hartley and Zander all gave outstanding performances and came in sub 18 minutes.  Sarah swooped in to claim the U20 prize in a cracking 17:58.  The chase was on between Gage, Mark, Lisa and Katrina who all finished within 30 seconds of each other.  A pelaton of Connel, Megan, Hannah and Lauren Cowan all achieved sub 21.15 times.  Billie, who decided to sign up on the day (legend), came in in 22.02.  Audrey and her dodgy pelvis zoomed across the line in 22.48 (probably desperate for paracetamol).  Juliet continued her racing streak knocking 43 seconds off her PB finishing in 23.09.

Excellent performances all round guys, with many PBs to be had!

Words by Lisa Christy and Katrina Ballantyne

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